Throughout history, it’s rare for a sequel to eclipse the original.
Terminator 2, Grover Cleveland’s second go around as President, the reincarnated Volkswagen Beetle.
It’s a pretty short list.
The Seattle Seahawks may soon be making an addition: The Legion of Boom 2.
The Seahawks’ rejuvenated defense had its coming out party two weeks ago against the New York Giants when they repeatedly assaulted Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
They sacked him 11 times, recovered a fumble, and came up with two interceptions, one of which rookie Devon Witherspoon took back 97 yards for a touchdown.
Witherspoon put on a show against the Giants, playing with physicality teams are unexpected to see from the cornerback spot. He spent much of the night either jamming up Giants receivers or getting in the face of Jones.
Even without Jamal Adams, who has yet to make a significant impact for the Seahawks after coming over a blockbuster trade three years ago, the defense was something to behold. Adams made his much-awaited season debut against the Giants and was promptly knocked out of the game on the opening drive with a head injury. When Adams returns to the field, he will again be a luxury item, a cherry on top of a defense that has already found its footing without him.
Should we look at the Seahawks defensive coming out party against the Giants as an aberration, given that the Giants are a mostly bad team and were playing with star running back Saquon Barkley? Sure. But that doesn’t mean the Seahawks defensive unit should be overlooked. Through the draft and free agency, it has been completely rebuilt over the past two years.
In 2022, coming off a 2021 season in which the team finished with the 12th-best overall defense in the league and moved on from defensive coordinator Ken Norton, the team got significantly worse in its first season under new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, plummeting to the 25th overall defense. Adams missed practically the entire season, and longtime defensive stalwart Bobby Wagner moved on to the Los Angeles Rams. Despite the defensive struggles, the team was still good enough to get into the playoffs at 9-8.
This year, the Seahawks layered all manner of contingency plans to rebuild the defense. They signed safety Julian Love away from the Giants to take over Adams’ spot and play alongside Quandre Diggs. With the fifth pick in the draft, instead of grabbing an offensive lineman or a quarterback of the future, the team selected Witherspoon out of Illinois. The selection was certainly a surprise but has turned out to be a welcome one for sure. Teamed with fellow young corners Riq Woolen, Coby Bryant, and Mike Brown, Witherspoon is already getting thrown into the fire. When the Giants tried to pick on the least experienced member of the group, Witherspoon made them pay. Most teams don’t figure to make the same mistake going forward. However, they may not have much choice. While the Seahawks’ secondary is coming into its own, the team’s defensive front has been outstanding against the run this year, ranking fifth in the NFL, an almost complete flip from last season’s 30th. That’s partly thanks to the return of Wagner to his old linebacker spot, and he leads the team in tackles with 27. However, they also returned defensive tackle Jarran Reed to go along with newcomer Dre’mont Jones on the defensive front, and that combo has turned what was a sieve of rushing yards last season into a small trickle this year. Love, Diggs, and Witherspoon excel at playing near the line of scrimmage and putting pressure in the backfield. Add it all together, and you have a run-stopping machine that can also be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.
This weekend, the Seahawks’ rebuilt defense will have a test against the Bengals, which, on paper, has a terrific wide receiver unit for Joe Burrow to throw to. That hadn’t panned on the field so far this season with Burrow nursing a leg injury for the first quarter of the season; however, against the Arizona Cardinals last week, Burrow threw for over 300 yards, 192 of them to Ja’Marr Chase. With standout receiver Tee Higgins back this weekend, he’ll have some potent options available. But just as the Giants are not the Bengals, the Cardinals are not the Seahawks. The Cardinals are essentially built to tank this season, while the Seahawks have their eyes on a playoff spot.
While the Seahawks flubbed a week one test against the Rams, they have looked strong against all other opposition. They have the chance to prove their rebuilt defense is real against the Bengals and that the Second Legion of Boom of Woolen, Witherspoon, Diggs, and Love is just as good, if not better than the first that struck terror into the hearts of opposing offensive coordinators and helped propel the Seahawks to a pair of Super Bowl appearances.
And while it may not top Terminator 2 for the title of the best sequel of all time, a Second Legion of Boom would undoubtedly rank highly in terms of best sequels in the minds of Seahawks fans.